Keenan, English 206: Research Assignment
Required Source: One academic writing by a literary critic
Paper Length: 5-6 pages, double-spaced, not including the Works Cited
Due in the Research Paper Dropbox
This paper should present your point of view about one or two works we are reading this semester. You can write about anything on the syllabus that interests you.
How to Proceed: I suggest that you first spend some time pondering the main themes and ideas of the course, and considering how they show up in the primary texts in the Norton. Then, choose one (or two) of these to explore by doing preliminary research.
For example: You might choose to write about the theme of female empowerment. So, you would read over writings (primary texts) that deal with this topic, considering how they characterize the lives of women: women’s own desire for change and the arguments in contemporary writings that explore aspects of equality. Remember, you can brainstorm together with your classmates in the Discussion Boards, getting their opinions on what makes a suitable topic.
Once you’ve decided on your topic, do a little preliminary research to be sure you can find a helpful academic source (a secondary text) to work with. Remember, there are several ways you can get help with finding a useful academic source: you can consult the libguide for the course; you can consult with our embedded librarian, Andrea Hartranft (see the discussion board for more information on contacting her); you can explore the college databases on your own – the Literature Resource Center database on the Library page is a good one, and, you can consult with me. We’re all here to help you with this work.
Using Primary Texts: A primary text is one written by an author from the period under study in our course; this can be either a work of literature (poem, play, a fictional prose work), or an essay. The more successful papers will stick closely to interpreting the primary text/s, and will quote from those texts directly at least three times. Don’t give me general statements that could apply to just about any work of lit; rather, be specific – tie your ideas to one theme, or one symbol, or one idea in the work you’ve chosen to study. And remember, I want to read about what interests you.
Using a Secondary Text: You are required to use at least one secondary text in your paper; this means an academic source, an essay or longer work by a literary critic and published in a literary journal, or in some other academic format. Summarize an idea from your source, and plan to use at least three direct quotations – but do this to support points YOU want to make.
Format: Remember all direct quotations and in-text citations must be formatted according MLA. All sources – primary and secondary – you use must be included in your Works Cited and formatted according to MLA. Consult the Owl/Purdue website on the Start Here page to check MLA quotation and citation and Works Cited formats.
This paper is worth 100 points of your course total. As I read your paper I will be looking for the following:
· A clear opening paragraph, with the title and author identified, with your thesis/central argument clearly stated, with the sub-topics of your discussion mentioned in the order they appear in the paper.
· Body paragraphs which do the following:
a) develop your sub-topics
b) occur in a logical and coherent sequence
c) prove your central argument
d) refer directly to the primary text, either through quotation or explicit reference.
· A conclusion which restates your central argument and perhaps introduces a new understanding of the texts you’re discussing to your reader.
· A trustworthy writing ethos which is sustained throughout the paper through careful word choices and thorough editing.
· An accurate and complete Works Cited at the end of the paper (a new sheet is not necessary). Include the information for the literary work you are discussing as well as your critical source. ANY QUESTIONS, ASK!